Harlequins stay alive with Exeter victory

Harlequins kept their Premiership hopes alive for another week when they beat Exeter Chiefs 29-30 at Sandy Park.

Dave Lewis’ converted try and three Gareth Steenson penalties took Exeter into
a 16-5 lead at the interval, while the London-based outfit’s response came through
Ugo Monye’s touchdown.

Matt Jess crossed the whitewash in the second-half to increase the Chiefs’
advantage before Quins mounted a comeback with Nick Evans going over and adding
two penalties from the tee.

Steenson’s three-pointer eased the pressure slightly, but Danny Care’s score
brought the away side to within one point.

The hosts thought they might have won it with another effort from the boot
of their fly-half, but Guest went over to snatch the win and set up a winner-takes-all
decider versus Bath.

Following the West Country outfit’s 19-19 draw with Northampton Saints on Friday,
it gave the visitors an excellent chance of closing the gap and keeping themselves
in contention for a play-off place.

Against a team that had lost their previous encounter 55-12 at home – their
heaviest defeat in the Premiership – it only increased the odds in Quins’ favour.

However, the West Country outfit were massively improved from their last match
and they moved into an early 10-0 lead.

Steenson opened the scoring via a penalty before a powerful rolling maul gave
Lewis the space he needed to scamper over.

Although Monye’s excellent finish, following a superb off-load by Dave Ward,
reduced the arrears to 10-5, successive three-pointers by the Exeter fly-half
increased the hosts’ advantage to 16-5.

The visitors needed a response but it was the Chiefs that started the second
half the brighter and an outstanding break by Ian Whitten led to Jess crossing
the whitewash for a brilliant score.

Evans’ well-taken try moved Harlequins back into contention and a yellow card
for Damian Welch increased the pressure on the home side’s rearguard.

Quins’ pivot kicked the resultant opportunity from the tee before adding another
just a few minutes later to move them to within five points.

The momentum was very much with the visitors and, despite Steenson scoring
a penalty, Charlie Matthews, Joe Marler and Nick Easter combined to send Care
over.

Steenson’s fifth penalty made the score 29-25 in Exeter’s favour, but there
was a late twist when Ward’s off-load gave Tom Guest an easy finish to seal
the win.

Final Score Exeter (16) 29 Harlequins Harlequins (5) 30

Scorers

Exeter Chiefs
Tries: Lewis, Jess
Con: Steenson 2
Pens: Steenson 5

Harlequins
Tries: Monye, Evans, Care, Guest
Con: Evans 2
Pens: Evans 2

Match Officials
Referee:
Andrew Small (104th Premiership game).
Assistant Referees: Stuart Terheege and Peter Huckle.
TMO: Greg Garner.

Teams

Exeter

15 Phil Dollman , 14 Fetu’u Vainikolo , 13 Ian Whitten , 12 Sam Hill , 11 Matt Jess , 10 Gareth Steenson , 9 Dave Lewis, 1 Carl Rimmer , 2 Luke Cowan-Dickie , 3 Hoani Tui , 4 Dean Mumm (capt) , 5 Damian Welch , 6 Dave Ewers , 7 Ben White , 8 Kai Horstmann

Replacements : 16 Jack Yeandle , 17 Craig Mitchell , 18 Alex Brown , 19 James Phillips , 20 James Scaysbrook , 21 Haydn Thomas , 22 Henry Slade , 23 Tom James

Harlequins

15. Mike Brown, 14. Tom Williams, 13. Tim Molenaar, 12. Jordan Turner-Hall, 11. Sam

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